The power and untapped potential of China's silver-haired consumers in the beauty industry has been a topic of conversation for nearly a decade, first hinted at in early trend forecasts. However, this seemingly lucrative market has seen little real engagement from brands, what is mostly seen in the market are more intense brand and product promotions about "anti-aging". Therefore, when Yuesai announced the launch of its new ginseng series focused on 50+ mature skin, ConCall was intrigued by a series of questions:
Yuesai's latest series, consisting of a face cream and eye cream, stands out not just for its luxurious packaging but also for its bold tagline: "specially for 50+ mature skin", a rarity in the industry.
This clear targeting raises the question: Is Yuesai moving away from its long-standing youth-focused approach to embrace the elder demographic?
Yuesai's spokesperson clarified to ConCall, "This new initiative doesn't mean abandoning our youthful focus. We're committed to addressing the anti-aging needs of Chinese women of all ages with tailored skincare solutions."
Yuesai's product range spans from the Ganoderma series, a favorite among younger demographics, to the popular Rejuvenate series, and now to the revamped ginseng line, catering to a broad age spectrum from under 25s to those over 30, including the mature silver-haired market.
Yuesai's communication strategy on platforms like XiaoHongShu, Douyin, and Weibo remains youth-oriented, with playful promotions for their product lines. However, for their new ginseng line, they've taken a different approach, launching a series of videos titled "Entering a Wonderful Stage"（渐入佳境）, featuring women who embody the mature age group.
In essence, Yuesai's evolving product line, with its latest addition, represents a bold foray into all-age market segmentation in the realm of anti-aging. But boldly claiming a "50+ mature skin exclusive" focus amid ongoing efforts to reshape the brand's image might create some ripples.
For Yuesai, a brand with a thirty-year legacy, the challenge is overcoming the perception of an aging brand image. The iconic image of Ms. Yuesai, familiar to elder generations, may not resonate with younger consumers. As Yuesai evolves, redefining this image becomes crucial in appealing to a new generation.
To redefine its image as a youth-centric brand, YuXi has explored numerous avenues: signing hot young celebrities as brand ambassadors, partnering with cutting-edge artists popular among the youth, cross-branding with KFC and Xinhua Zidian, and even venturing into the metaverse. While these initiatives have attracted younger audiences, there’s still room for growth. The brand caught significant attention with the launch of its upgraded Rejevenate skincare line, boasting a 21% proxylane content. This lavish formula quickly became a blogger-favored alternative to some high-end creams.
Yuesai’s journey to become a favored brand among younger consumers is ongoing. Yet, the brand has found a unique resonance with its more mature audience, those who have grown alongside Yuesai. The introduction of products specifically for "50+ mature skin" signifies a strategic return to this loyal, now silver-haired, fan base.
Moreover, Yuesai represents L'Oréal Group's pioneering approach to the Chinese silver-haired market.
At the "2022/2023 Annual Development Strategy Communication Meeting" in Shanghai, L'Oréal China highlighted the opportunity within the silver-haired market. Tapping into this segment with premium products and dynamic marketing is as crucial as engaging younger audiences for sustainable growth in the beauty sector.
L'Oréal China's Deputy CEO, Laurence Ma, highlighted to ConCall that the beauty aspirations of the broad Chinese population have expanded significantly since the 1990s. From the post-70s generation, who built their economic strength during China's rise, to today's diverse age range of cosmetics users, there's a massive potential market spanning from 15 to 75 years old. This demographic shift presents a significant opportunity for high-end beauty brands.
While focusing on the current silver-haired generation, who were born in the 70s and 80s, the "future silver-haired" demographics are of particular interest to beauty giants in China. Their strategy involves cultivating needs and habits in these gracefully aging young individuals and exploring new markets alongside aging consumers.
Yuesai's direct approach in this regard is noteworthy. Globally, targeting the silver-haired demographic with specific product lines or brands is not new. In Japan, where the beauty industry is deeply entrenched, brands like Kanebo's Evita for 50+ women and Shiseido's Prior have made significant strides. Similarly, European and American markets have seen an emergence of products catering specifically to the anti-aging needs of this demographic.
Targeting specific age groups is essential in China's market, with a national focus on anti-aging.
Since 2015, industry data has pointed to a gap in the market for age-specific skincare and makeup for older consumers. While some domestic beauty and pharmaceutical brands have released products for the elderly, like Fanghua and Warner Pharmaceuticals, and Chic Max Group's PP2A with its 40+ and 50+ lines, these haven't fully met the evolving demands of this demographic. Consumers often resort to vague search terms like “mother's skincare” on e-commerce platforms, navigating confusing product descriptions and unclear positioning.
AlixPartners notes that China has the world's largest over-60 consumer base, a group poised to significantly boost future consumption.
AgeClub's report underscores that 92% of middle-aged and elder people in major cities use cosmetics, with a growing preference for high-end brands and a more nuanced approach to product selection and usage. They're increasingly using a variety of skincare products, and makeup is becoming an indispensable part of their routine. There's a clear demand for products specifically designed for the elderly. Meanwhile, the skincare concept of middle-aged and elderly women in lower-tier towns is also evolving.
While the focus on the silver-haired market's beauty needs peaked between 2019 and 2021, there’s been a shift towards their online engagement in recent years. The discussion may have cooled, but the market need is still present.
Yuesai's strategic move to introduce products for the silver-haired demographic comes at an opportune time, likely earning significant consumer goodwill. This positions L'Oréal Group advantageously in the Chinese market but replicating the success of products like Lancôme's Advanced Genifique - Youth Activating Concentrate will require further consumer education and strategic brand marketing. The ultimate market response to these targeted efforts remains to be seen.